You Say tom-A-to, I say tom-ah-to!

My friend and I agree that vacations and travel are not the same things even though they share similar components.  Vacation tends to be about a week, more about relaxation, visiting folks and smaller scale adventures.  Travel tends to mean longer trips that take you farther from home with more complex itineraries.  Although travel can be more rigorous, it usually provides more unforgettable experiences.

VACATIONS

Everybody needs to do Disney World with the fam or visit the National Parks. A lot like to do what Kenny Chesney prescribes and just check out to “Some Beach” somewhere.  Whether it is Myrtle Beach, the Bahamas or Florida, people love to spread out a towel, soak up some sun and play in the surf.  If you blend that up with some margaritas and local cuisine you have a fine vacation indeed.

After a vacation people tend to feel more relaxed and refreshed. Their mood is elevated as they return to day-to-day living.  They share some photos of sand castles and family and laugh about wrong turns or small misadventures.  It renews the soul.

Cruises are what I like to think of as somewhat middle ground between vacations and travel.  They can be any length, fancy or affordable, and they can take you to all kinds of wonderful places.  With most cruise trips you get a great balance of fun ship days, relaxing time on the beach and a little exploration of the most popular local sites.  A cruise can be a great deal (especially for families) that includes your food, shipboard entertainment and offers quick and affordable land adventures.  On the other hand, a European Cruise can be a bit longer with a more formal atmosphere, first class dining and day trips to some really amazing locations.  Although these trips usually cost a little more, they deliver a higher level travel experience.

Some people prefer to meet up with a specific group of friends or family at the same place every year. They look forward to time shared together in familiar surroundings that provides a sense of comfort and ease.  Although they may take some excursions,  their focus is usually more about relaxation since they are already well versed in the area and it’s local offerings.

Other people use vacations to visit family or friends that live out of their immediate area. It offers the opportunity to take a purposeful visit and add a few local adventures.  Mixing the two is a great way to blend up your vacation.

My husband and I went to the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, Maryland for the wedding of a friend. This was an area we had never been to before. It also happened to be our anniversary weekend so we made it into a 4 day getaway. It was a fabulous wedding and there were a lot of activities surrounding the event. But during our free time, we managed to do some exploring and found an Italian bakery in Little Italy, a crab shack on the waterfront, a cool Beer Garden and tons of fun stuff just by walking. Loved it!

A few years ago, our son moved to Texas filling his Ford Focus with as many of his belongings as he could take. 2 weeks later my husband and I drove down and delivered the rest of his things.  I knew with just starting his new job that the time he would be able to spend with us would be limited.  Since we had 9 days total, we planned a meandering drive down that took us 2 days.  First we stayed 2 days with him and checked out his new apartment, his office and the local area. 

For the next night, I booked a room 2 hours away in San Antonio. We grabbed Hop On/Hop Off bus tickets and explored some local attractions like the Riverwalk and the Alamo.  We cruised down the river, sampled some hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s and tried the local cuisine.  The next morning we set out for 2 beach front nights in Corpus Christi.  Beautiful and relaxing!  After all the driving, hanging out and unwinding on the beach was just the battery recharge we needed for a few days.  We stopped on the way back for 1 more day with our son before heading toward home.

I had secretly planned a stop over night in Memphis, TN, a place we had not visited before.  It happened to be a Friday night and Biel Street was happening!   The street was lit up like Vegas, with bands jamming on every block, people everywhere….It was electric.   We ate tasty Memphis BBQ and drank fruity rum drinks as we rambled down Biel Street listening to the fantastic music.  After a good night’s sleep we hit the road and made the journey home. This trip was a great blend that made for a really nice vacation.

  • We accomplished the task of moving our son’s things
  • Did some site seeing in Memphis and San Antonio
  • Enjoyed some down time on the beach in Corpus Christi. 

Travel

Travel is that big trip you save up for and plan over the course of several months or even years. You excitedly count down the days until you pack your suitcase and go.  You get pumped up with anticipation and can’t sleep the night before you leave.   When you take time for real travel you get to experience some amazing things.  But everyone has a different idea of what their dream trip is.  For some it is Backpacking across Europe, while others may prefer to take an African Safari, an Alaskan Cruise or go Zip lining in Costa Rica.

What’s yours?

After you come home from traveling, you feel different somehow.   You have seen and experienced things that couldn’t be captured by mere photographs or expressed by words.  You put away your cell phone and laptop and lived in the moment.  Maybe you stood in a museum in front of a painting you had always admired, or breathed in the smell of lemons wafting through the air in Italy, or had your eyes widen with surprise upon your first view of the Alps as you crested a hill. These are things you can never really fully explain to others.  They are the memories that are only for you and they create an inner glow when you think of them.  They fill your heart and soul.  But be warned, travel is addictive.  Once you take that first bite of real travel, you will want to go again…you will NEED to go again.

Final Thoughts

So in my opinion, it is important to enjoy both vacations and travel.  They each serve an important purpose in our lives. I like to use my next adventure like a carrot dangling in front of me at all times.  It helps when life feels a bit dusty and full of ruts to motivate and keep me moving forward toward that day circled on the calendar. 

They say all things should be done in moderation, so blend in some Travel among your Vacations.  Mix things up. Be brave and step outside your comfort zone.  Keep nourishing  your spirit and exploring this vast world we live in. Andiamo!

Dream, Plan, Save, Adventure!